Bee Stings the Hive Mind
This week, an award-winning image by UC Davis’s Kathy Keatley Garvey of a honeybee stinger in motion–never before captured on camera–traveled the social networks. Within the same news strands came a renewed Credo petition to ban a pesticide, Clothianidin, produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience, now definitively linked to the “mysterious bee die-off” or “colony collapse disorder.”
As a visual metaphor, this photograph (which first appeared, appropriately, in The Sacramento Bee) captures a core stinging concept: if bees perish, plants will too. And you know who eats plants. All animals. Um, including us. Yikes. As disconnected from nature as many have become, perhaps this digitally-captured stinger can help provide an additional wake-up call to cease dangerous pesticide use by agribusiness and home gardeners to effectively save the real Queen Bees and their colonies.
Social media and the internet, often referred to as the “hive mind“, provides an unprecedented platform for changemakers to “pollinate” ideas across the networks until tipping point trends occur. Jane McGonigal, innovator, tech geek and gamer, created an online network of problem-solvers around this issue called “I Love Bees” which helped to raise awareness of the issue and provide potential solutions.
The rise in hyper-local pesticide-free beekeeping across the country, both amateur and entrepreneurial, has been one response to the crisis. Since beekeeping became legal in New York City in 2010, rooftop gardens and farms have provided a boon in locavore honey production, as well as many other cities and towns. Hopeful buzz from Queens and all the other boroughs.
“Are Pesticides Behind Massive Bee Die-Offs?” by Tom Philpott, Mother Jones Magazine, January 2012
“More evidence links pesticides to honeybee losses” by Claire Thompson, Grist, April 2012.